For the last few weeks, the No. 1 spot in this Power Ranking has been changing hands. With both UCLA and Oregon on byes this past weekend, that’s not the case this time around. However, we do have a first! For the first time this season, we have a new No. 12.

Let’s dive in.

12. Cal Golden Bears 

Prev. rank: 9

Here’s the thing. If you have a bye week to prepare for a team that had, up to that point in the year, what was literally the worst run defense in all of college football by both efficiency and sheer production allowed, and your gameplan is to come out throwing the football on 22 of your first 34 plays against said defense, you deserve to lose the football game. Cal has a running back who looked like a shoo-in for Offensive Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12 after rushing for 274 yards on 19 carries against Arizona a few weeks ago. In this game, Jaydn Ott ran for 12 yards on the very first play from scrimmage. Cal then threw the ball three straight times and the drive ended with an interception. Quarterback Jack Plummer threw it 52 times against a defense that was allowing 6.7 yards per run and 294 rushing yards a game. Fifty-two! And it’s not like Cal had to climb back into a football game and abandon the run; Colorado had three points going into the fourth quarter. That gameplan was coaching malpractice. Ott is going to look really good in a USC uniform next season.

11. Colorado Buffaloes

Prev. rank: 12

Colorado looked like a defense reborn under interim coach Mike Sanford and interim defensive coordinator Gerald Chatman — firing off the ball, beating up Cal at the point of attack, and closing out a 20-13 overtime win for their first victory of the season. The Buffs got 10 tackles for loss in the game after entering with just 18 in the previous five weeks. When Tyrin Taylor intercepted Cal quarterback Jack Plummer on the opening possession and seemingly the entire sideline raced to the endzone with him after the play to celebrate, I got the sense then and there that this game was going to be a little different. CU spent all week talking about a renewed sense of energy from Sanford and we saw that plain as day on the field. The quarterback situation is still a problem; JT Shrout has been impactful when he comes into a game to replace someone else, but he’s been poor as a starter so I’m not sure what Colorado does there.

10. Arizona Wildcats

Prev. rank: 10

It’s clear how much better a football team Arizona is. It’s abundantly clear how much better the offense is from a year ago. Arizona has some of the best receivers in the Pac-12 and a quarterback who does well to get them the football. The defense has a long way to go. Arizona has slipped to 127th nationally in defensive efficiency, allowing 6.9 yards a play. That’s a full yard worse than the defense last season. The Wildcats are bottom 25 in yards per pass allowed and Charlotte is the only FBS team allowing quarterbacks to complete a higher percentage of their passes.

9. Stanford Cardinal

Prev. rank: 11

I get that Notre Dame is on its second-string quarterback but good lord that offense is bad. Notre Dame crossed midfield twice in the first half. The first drive ended with a turnover on downs from the Stanford 5, and the second ended with a punt from the Stanford 48. Stanford running back Casey Filkins had a good day running the ball, quarterback Tanner McKee was clean throwing the ball, and Stanford did just enough to end what was an 11-game losing streak to FBS opponents.

8. Arizona State Sun Devils

Prev. rank: 7

The Sun Devils were on a bye week this week, so this section is too.

7. Washington State Cougars

Prev. rank: 5

The Cougars outgained Oregon State on a per-play basis — 5 yards to 4.8 — and that usually means a win is likely. They limited the explosive plays and produced nine explosives from the pass game themselves. Yet the Cougars lost by 14.  When you’re going to be as one-dimensional on offense as Washington State is (Cameron Ward threw the ball 54 times), you have to help your quarterback. Cougar receivers dropped five passes, one of them a bobble that led to Ward’s lone interception. And Oregon State sacked Ward six times to go with eight other hurries. Washington State goes into the bye week at 4-3; it hosts Utah on a Thursday night with a chance to create some major momentum. It doesn’t have much of it now.

6. Oregon State Beavers

Prev. rank: 8

And just like that, Oregon State is 5-2. The Beavers will have a good chance of taking a 6-2 record into their bye week to close out October when they face Colorado next Saturday. When I was writing this column a week ago and Oregon State was losing to Stanford, the Beavers were tentatively slotting in at No. 11. It looked like it would be three straight losses, each one increasingly more disappointing than the other. Instead, Ben Gulbranson connected with Tre’Shaun Harrison for a miracle touchdown and the Beavers rode that momentum to a dominant performance against the Cougars. Oregon State controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Damien Martinez had his best game, going for 111 yards on 16 carries. Meanwhile, the defense sacked Wazzu six times and produced three other tackles for loss. Oregon State has rebounded very nicely from its two-game slide, a direct testament to Jonathan Smith — who’s one of the most underappreciated coaches in college football.

5. Washington Huskies

Prev. rank: 6

Another team that rebounded wonderfully from back-to-back losses. Washington regained its footing at home on Saturday with a 49-39 win over Arizona. I’m willing to give the pass defense a pass considering the nature of the opponent and the very real depth concerns in the secondary. I was thoroughly impressed by Michael Penix Jr.’s showing and the play of the Washington front seven. They really got after Jayden de Laura in the second half and came up with crucial plays in key spots. Penix is just a flamethrower. Washington is 5-2 with a trip to Cal on the docket for this week.

4. USC Trojans

Prev. rank: 3

USC gained 556 yards and put up 42 points. The Trojans averaged 9 yards a carry (adjusted for sacks) against Utah. The problems were not on offense. Frankly, the problem wasn’t even the run defense, which was the thing everyone keyed on coming into the matchup. None of Utah’s backs got going; both Tavion Thomas and Micah Bernard averaged fewer than 4 yards a carry. USC just couldn’t corral Utah quarterback Cameron Rising and it was entirely uninterested in doing anything to cover tight end Dalton Kincaid. Lincoln Riley needs to be asking some hard questions of his defense staff; Utah’s clear best receiving option had 16 catches and 217 receiving yards and it didn’t look like defensive coordinator Alex Grinch had any answer for him. USC can get up in arms about the officiating (fair, it was poor) but it gave up three straight third-down completions to Kincaid that moved the chains on what became Utah’s game-winning touchdown drive.

3. Utah Utes

Prev. rank: 4

Let’s just take a moment and appreciate the atmosphere that Rice-Eccles Stadium and all those in attendance for Saturday’s record turnout produced. That was a showcase game for the Pac-12 and a massive showcase of the Utah program. Hat’s off to the crowd. It was excellent. As was Cam Rising, who cemented his status as one of the best quarterbacks in college football with his performance. He had 415 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns. Rising is fourth nationally in QBR, third nationally in expected points added, top-20 nationally in total offense, has produced 21 total touchdowns, and is piloting one of the top-scoring offenses in the country. Utah is firmly in the thick of the Pac-12 title race after a 43-42 win over USC and it will stay right there as long as Rising keeps playing like this. All that being said, the bye week comes at a crucial time for a defense that needs to do some soul-searching and find itself up front. It’s true that Utah just earned one of the best wins of any Pac-12 team this season, and I considering bumping it above the idle Ducks, but I think we saw the same game from Utah two weeks in a row. Cameron Rising balled out while the defense struggled to string together stops. I’m concerned about Utah’s defense, so they stay at No. 3.

2. Oregon Ducks

Prev. rank: 2

The Ducks were on a bye week this week, so this section is too. I will say this, though: remember when former players wanted Justin Wilcox to come back and be the next head coach at Oregon? I suspect athletic director Rob Mullens is laughing at that thought right now. Oregon is 5-1 heading into a top-10 matchup at home with one of the best offenses in the country. Cal just gave a winless team its first victory for the second season in a row.

1. UCLA Bruins

Prev. rank: 1

The Bruins were on a bye week this week, so this section is too. No reason to drop the Bruins from the top spot.